Biden Set To Invoke Cold War Powers To Bolster Green Agenda
President Joe Biden intends to use a Cold War-era law to boost U.S. production of critical minerals essential for electric vehicle batteries and defense equipment.
The president will be adding battery materials to a list of materials protected under the 1950 Defense Production Act (DPA) should he decide to move forward with the plan. The move would give mining firms access to a $750 million fund established under the DPA and used to “to carry out all of the provisions and purposes” of the act, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
The use of the DPA however would not do away with current regulations and legal red tape currently facing mining projects across the country.
Minerals such as cobalt, copper, lithium, nickel, graphite and zinc are essential for the production of electric vehicle batteries, battery storage facilities, solar panels and wind turbines. However, China, Russia and other hostile nations currently dominate the global production of such materials.
“Unless we continue to build on this action, and get serious about reshoring these supply chains and bringing new mines and mineral processing online, we risk feeding the minerals dominance of geopolitical rivals,” National Mining Association President and CEO Rich Nolan said. “We have abundant mineral resources here. What we need is policy to ensure we can produce them and build the secure, reliable supply chains we know we must have.”
But over the last 14 months, the Biden administration has put roadblocks in the way of domestic mining production in the form of environmental regulations and permitting.
The Interior Department shut down a Minnesota mining project approved under the Trump administration which would have produced copper, nickel, cobalt and platinum. The agency said the project hadn’t undergone a sufficient environmental review.
“It was purely a political decision,” Minnesota Rep. Pete Stauber, the top Republican on the Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Subcommittee, said. “We need to secure our critical minerals, we need energy and mining dominance in this nation.”